Lunchtime news Thursday 22 November 2014

The Callcutt Review, set up by former communities minister Ruth Kelly to speed up the supply of new homes, has released its findings. The review said that the annual target of 240,000 new homes announced in July’s green paper was achievable only if necessary investment was attracted, and government policies on energy efficiency, affordability and environmentally friendly homes did not discourage development. It also put the focus on building in towns and cities (regenerating brownfield sites) over building on greenfield sites.

Another government advisory body, Renewables Advisory Board, has found that nine out of 10 new homes could be made zero-carbon if small-scale renewable energy generation was installed at them. The board found that the market for microgeneration was likely to be worth £2.3 billion a year by 2016 as households install solar panels, mini wind turbines and underground heating systems.

Home information pack (Hips) schemes will be rolled out to all properties from December 14 it was announced this morning. Early monitoring of the scheme which has been in place for houses with three or more bedrooms since the summer, has shown that the new system has gone smoothly. It shows Hips taking between seven and 10 days on average, and costing between £330 and £350, less than the expected £400 mark. Independent research has also found no impact on transactions or prices since its introduction.

London mayoral candidate, Boris Johnson last night set out his housing and planning policy during a speech at the National House Building Council . Pledging to build homes, not rabbit hutches for the Bridget Jones generation, the Conservative MP also said the policy of making 50 per cent of new housing affordable was stifling development. He said he would be willing to ease affordable housing quotas to encourage greater development and promised to protect London’s skyline from the ‘phallocratic towers that Ken wants to erect in the suburbs…’

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee minutes, released yesterday, showed that the decision to keep interest rates at 5.75 per cent for another month was voted for 7-2, indicating that a rate cut may be on the cards in the near future.